Alumni Stories: An "art education enthusiast"
Class of 2003, A.A., Art Studies
Heather McCutcheon earned a degree in art studies at Herkimer College. She also found her soul mate. “I loved the classes with Bruce Schwabach, especially 3-Dimensional Design. I actually met my husband in one of his classes!”
Heather is a self-described “art education enthusiast.”
Growing up, Heather, a 2003 graduate of Herkimer College, knew she wanted to teach art. “In middle school, I was so excited [to have an art teacher]. When I was first looking at art education programs, I was drawn to the fact that Herkimer College had an art degree transfer agreement with SUNY Oswego.”
Heather has taught art at the K-12 level for many years in the Herkimer Central School District, but her education in the arts hasn’t stopped within the school walls. “I like to have community involvement, so it’s not just in the classroom,” she explains.
Heather is active in several art education organizations throughout New York state. She is co-chair for Region 3 of the New York State Art Teachers Association (NYSATA) and was honored as the NYSATA Art Teacher of the Year in 2016. In 2015, she was named Herkimer County Teacher of the Year for Integration Technology. She is also co-chair for the statewide Youth Art Month (YAM) .
Heather enjoys helping her students get involved in the community. She has overseen projects like organizing local high school students to paint a mural at the Herkimer VFW and a vinyl sticker design initiative that helped spread a positive message while giving students practical experience.
“My favorite part of teaching is building relationships with students. I love creating with them and learning with them, but when you build relationships — that’s what teaching is all about.”
Matthew McCutcheon ’05 always wanted a career in art.
“My father has been an artist his entire life, so I was sort of born into it.” After high school, the budding artist chose to attend Herkimer College. “I didn’t want to travel, and I grew up in the area.” There he met his future wife. “We were in a few classes together — we took chemistry together and a few art classes.”
Matthew jumped straight into a career after graduation, and for five years he worked for Serianni Signs in Frankfort, New York. “I learned so much from Paul [Serianni] there,” he recalls. “So much about placing vinyl and making signs.”
That experience helped prepare him for his current job at McCraith Beverages. Matthew is the entirety of the graphics department there. “My job is all over the board. I do a lot of price signs, truck wraps, cooler wraps, and so on. You don’t necessarily think about the fact that it takes an artist to make a simple price sign or the card at a bar that says ‘now serving.’
“Back in the day, being an artist was sort of like, ‘you can be a painter or a potter — pick one’. But today’s world has expanded that; there are a lot of options.”